Spring into a Healthier Family!
The advent of Spring, with its warmer weather and longer days, is a great time to re-evaluate your family's nutrition and activity patterns. And with childhood obesity, a topic that is regularly making the news these days, it's important to take a look at your own family and evaluate what you can do better as a parent to maximize your child's wellness.
Eating is a necessary and an enjoyable activity but one that you need to monitor in your child. Offering your child healthy foods at regular intervals and modeling good eating habits yourself go a long way to instilling a good eating pattern in your offspring - limiting fast food (like McDonald's) to once a week and encouraging lots of fresh fruits and vegetables is a good start. Drinking water and lowfat milk and limiting sweet drinks (such as juice/vitamin waters/soda/lemonade/etc.) to once a day can go a long way to helping get weight under control. Decreasing sweet drinks also eliminates constant sugar on the teeth and can improve dental health. Your pediatrician at RiverBend Pediatrics would be happy to help you create a plan to address any concerns you have about your child's eating habits.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends each child spend a minimum of 60 minutes a day involved in physical activity and a maximum of 2 hours daily in front of a screen (computer, tv, video game including handheld). These recommendations become easier to follow if the whole family gets involved and if everyone gets outdoors, making this time of year a perfect time to get started - a walk after supper, a family bike ride, letting the kids play basketball outside or just run around in the yard, going to the park and playing on the playground equipment, these types of activities can benefit everyone. Of course, being physical can also be an indoor occupation - walking up and down stairs, helping with housecleaning (sweeping or vacuuming, for example), playing "pretend games", jumping rope, even doing active video games such as Dance, Dance Revolution or Wii Fit. The important thing is that everyone gets active and has fun.